The Steelers’ defensive players won’t be playing against their counterparts from Baltimore Sunday night.
Just don’t tell that to Ryan Clark.
“We don’t have to beat Joe Flacco, Anquan Boldin, Ray Rice. We’ve got to beat Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, T(errell) Suggs, Haloti Ngata,” the Steelers free safety said earlier this week. “We have to outplay them. If you look at the way our games play out, the team that creates the most turnovers, the team that creates the most havoc on the opposing offense is winning the game. That’s what it’s about.”
That is what happened on Sept. 11 with Ben Roethlisberger, not Joe Flacco, committing the kind of killer turnovers on which outcomes of Steelers-Ravens games hinge.
Roethlisberger and the offense have to take better care of the football for the Steelers to avenge an earlier 35-7 loss to Baltimore.
The Steelers also need to create some turnovers, and they are due.
It is astounding that the Steelers have played this well on defense –- they are No. 2 overall, behind the Ravens, and No. 1 in pass defense -– and only forced three takeaways.
That probably has to change for the Steelers to avoid a season sweep by Baltimore for only the second time in the NFL’s hardest-hitting rivalry.
And they’ll have to do it without LaMarr Woodley, who is first in the NFL with nine sacks.
Despite the absence of Woodley and questions about whether James Farrior will suit up and how much the 15th-year veteran will play if he is on the 46-man active roster, don’t expect the Steelers to replicate what they did last week against the Patriots.
“We could get away with doing some of that stuff last week, but also they didn’t expect it,” strong safety Troy Polamalu said of the defensive game plan against New England. “This week is a completely different animal. (The Ravens) are definitely more committed to running the ball so we’ve definitely got to keep our big guys out there for this run defense.”
— Scott Brown